Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Could You Please Pass the Butter?

Once upon a time, in about the same place where you are, there lived a father, mother, and five little children. Their day was really quite simple: work, chores, schooling, a little play time, and meals. There were no emails to check, no phone ringing, no fantasy sports, not even a Sheriff Andy Taylor. Communication was centered around the family; and one of the great means of this communication was the dinner table. Here Father, Mother, and the children would sit and talk about the day's adventures, tomorrow's dreams, and life's lessons. The family was bettered as a result of this daily time of sharing and loving, but then comes the present.
Dad is eating on a tray in the living room watching the evening news. Mom is just eating out of the pots with a fork. Johnny will eat when he gets home from soccer, while Bethany is going to 'grab a bite' with her friend Amanda at Wendys. Everybody shoves down some grub, and as a result will be starving again at 8:00 and will eat the Taco Bell "Fourth Meal." (adding to our bulging waist lines)
Nobody shares a story, nobody knows what is happening in one another's life, nobody knows how to act properly at a table, and no one is there to pass the butter. The family is weakened.
Our eleventh question on our teen questionnaire reads:
We have dinner as a family around a table each week:
A: every day...31%
B: 4-6 days a week...15%
C: 2-3 days a week...13%
D: once a week...10%
E: Never...31%

About 1/3 of our IFB young people sit with their families and enjoy dinner every day, and about 1/3 of our IFB young people NEVER sit with their families and enjoy dinner together. Thus, a great number of our families are being weakened.
In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul is rebuking the church at Corinth concerning their partaking of the Lord's supper. They had made the Lord's supper an event for the satisfying of the flesh, not the rememberance of our Lord's sacrifice. Apparently, they were making the observance more of a feast rather than an observance. Thus, Paul rebukes them by saying:
What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

We know in context how he is rebuking the church for making a mockery of the observance of the Lord's Supper, but I believe we also see a most applicable principle in this verse, "have ye not houses to eat and to drink in?"
It was to be expected that dinner was to be eaten at home. We read much in God's Word about where the eating was done inside the home (2 Sam. 9:7-13; 2 Sam. 19:28; 1 Kings 2:7; Matt. 15:27; Mark 7:28; Luke 22:30) they ate at the table.
Now, I do not believe it is a sin to go out and eat at a table, but I believe the principle must be seen that the family and friends gathered to eat together in the home at the table-not in the recliner, kitchen, bedroom, and porch. This is a special time for fellowship and sharing of love.
One day, we will enjoy perfect fellowship with Christ. The bride of Christ-those churches which have kept themselves unspotted from the world and true to the Word of God-will sit with the Bridegroom at His table and enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb. Why sit at a table? Why a supper? Why at the Father's House? Fellowship! Love! Communion! Unity!
Each night, our Christian homes should be a model of such: Father, mother, children sitting at a table, in the home, together enjoying fellowship, love, communication, unity!
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph. 5:32



christine said...

I couldn't believe that 31% of teens NEVER eat at the table? That is shocking.

Travis Burke said...

That is the results that we gathered after sending out a survey to over 50 churches. It is alarming. I looked over your website, feel free to share any thoughts you may have on the subject of the table. It would be helpful as we continue research for our book. Thanks for the comment!